Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Journal obtained audio of the interview conducted with former APD Officer Jeremy Dear two days after he fatally shot Mary Hawkes last April. The audio reveals that Dear said he realized that his lapel camera was unplugged immediately after he fired shots at Hawkes.
“I remember at the end, I was like oh (expletives)- my camera, it was unplugged,” Dear said. “I’ve had problems with it in the past. It comes unplugged and it won’t record.”
The Albuquerque Journal reported that Dear said he had told himself “Oh, I’m going to be in trouble for this.”
“I was scared to death. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared in my life,” Dear also said in the interview. “I was afraid to die. I didn’t want to die. I have a girlfriend that I love very much. I have my 6-year-old son. I wanted to go home.”
The Albuquerque Police Department has never publicly acknowledged that Dear’s camera was unplugged before and during his pursuit of 19-year-old Hawkes, a suspected car thief. In a press conference held on April 23rd, two days after the shooting, Albuquerque Police Chief Gordon Eden said that footage of the chase and subsequent shooting could not be retrieved from Dear’s lapel camera and that the camera was being sent to the manufacturer for technical and forensic analysis.
When asked “Does that mean he [Dear] did or did not start it?” Eden responded, “That’s information we don’t know, that’s why we sent it to the experts to have them do a technical and forensic analysis of the on-body camera system.” Someone in the conference asked Eden “What does Officer Dear say to that question, I’m sure he’s been asked that?” Eden answered that “There are still witnesses that need to be interviewed, and hopefully we will know more information as this investigation continues.”
Taser International Inc., the camera’s manufacturer, stated in its analysis of Dear’s camera last year that the device had turned on and off several times late in the evening of April 20th through the early hours of April 21st: “Before the incident, the camera was powered on around 11:15 p.m. on April 20, then went off around 11:30 p.m., recording once. It was turned on again shortly after midnight, and went off again around 4 a.m., recording three times. It was turned on again around 4:15 a.m. and turned off a minute later without recording anything.”
Dear’s partner at the time of the shooting, Tanner Tixier, was also interviewed. Tixier was asked if Dear recorded the shooting, and he said “I know he did not.”
“According to him, and this has happened before, I think, when he got out of the vehicle to go on a foot chase, that cord unplugged itself from the battery pack, which completely made his camera inoperable,” Tixier said.
In order to turn on the camera, Dear needed to push a button on the battery. According to The Albuquerque Journal, he said that he pushed the button as he was exiting his vehicle but he didn’t hear it beep so he was aware that it was not recording. “But I was more concerned about watching her running,” Dear said.
Dear was reportedly asked why his camera wasn’t turned on before chasing Hawkes, and he answered that the shooting, which occurred at around 5 a.m., was close to the end of his shift and had been worried about preserving battery life.
Dear shot and killed Mary Hawkes on April 21st, 2014 after Hawkes was allegedly spotted by police driving a truck that had been reported stolen April 10th. Hawkes allegedly abandoned the truck and was running from police when she was confronted by Dear before he shot her three times. According to the autopsy report on Hawkes, all three shots were fired from a downward trajectory. A report from the Office of the Medical Examiner stated that Hawkes suffered “seven blunt-force injuries” on her body “including on each knee, the top of her forehead, each forearm, her chest and back of her right hand.”
Dear said in his interview that while he was chasing Hawkes, he yelled “Stop” and she looked at him, making eye contact, before turning toward Dear. Dear said that Hawkes was about 5 feet away from him when she turned and pointed a gun at him. “She says, ‘don’t, don’t,’” Dear said. “I draw my gun out and come up on her and say, ‘Drop it, drop it.’ She doesn’t drop it, and I’m focused on the gun and I start firing my gun until she drops.”
Dear has claimed body camera errors in the past. In January 2013, Dear was accused of hitting a 22-year-old suspect “several times in his facial area with a closed fist.” Dear’s camera was not on at the time, and his partner’s camera had captured the beginning of the fight and its aftermath. In February 2013, a man filed a complaint accusing Dear of using excessive force during a traffic stop. The man alleged that Dear pulled him out of his vehicle and kicked him in the genitals. Dear denied the accusations and claimed that the battery on his body camera died after he pulled the man over.
Dear had also been accused of giving conflicting information in a wrongful death suit stemming from an APD-involved shooting in 2011. APD officer Sean Wallace had shot and killed Alan Gomez, a suspect in a hostage situation. Dear had been at the scene of the shooting, and there was audio of Dear telling an investigator that he was unable to see Gomez’s hands before he was shot.
Dear was fired last December for “insubordination and untruthfulness” according to a statement from Eden, but did not directly cite the shooting of Hawkes as the primary reason for termination. Dear has appealed Eden’s decision.
Last updated February 10th, 2015, 2:44 p.m.